Among all potential voters, Merkel had 43 percent support, compared to 32 percent for Martin Schulz, the chancellor candidate for the center-left Social Democrats (SPD). But that lead extended to 47 percent against 29 percent among young voters aged 18 to 21, the poll showed.
“Young people know Chancellor Merkel, with whom they grew up, but not the candidate Schulz,” said Manfred Guellner, who heads the Forsa institute. He said the latest data showed that “especially young people are looking for stability and continuity in these uncertain times.”
Of course, young Germans have good reason to value stability: unlike many European youth, Merkel’s policies are working for them. Youth unemployment in Germany is a mere 6.6%, compared with 23.6% in France and 35.2% in Italy. It’s small wonder, then, that anti-establishment fervor has failed to capture German youth the way it has young voters in France and Italy.
In any case, Merkel’s strong showing should be welcomed by Washington—if only because her rival is already signaling that he would be less than cooperative with the Trump administration. EU Observer:
Martin Schulz, the centre-left contender to become Germany’s next chancellor, said he would not pursue policies to achieve an increase of defence spending as agreed with Nato allies. […]
“That can definitely not be the goal of a government led by me,” said Schulz at a press conference on Monday (10 April).
There are reasons to doubt that even a Merkel-led government can speedily increase its defense spending, but given Merkel’s stated commitment to the 2% spending goal and Schulz’s disdain for it, President Trump may find himself quietly rooting for a Merkel victory come September.